‘Let the public judge the upheaval’

Worthing Hospital's A&E department

Worthing Hospital's A&E department

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PEOPLE campaigning against the decision to award Bupa CSH a health service contract say potentially ‘catastrophic’ effects on NHS services are being ignored by an impact review.

An impact assessment looking into the effects of awarding a five-year contract for musculoskeletal services to the firm has been criticised by campaigners, who say it has underestimated the number of services which could be affected.

Margaret Guest, chairwoman of campaign group Don’t Cut Us Out, said a full public consultation into plans is needed.

“The assessment will tell us nothing about the effect on other services including mental health, social care and voluntary sector provision,” she said.

“Let the public judge if this upheaval is in our best interests and let’s have a proper public debate out in the open.

“Without the proper involvement of patients, carers and care professionals, the impact on the care of such vulnerable people could be catastrophic.”

The independent review, which was commissioned by Coastal West Sussex clinical commissioners and the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust and undertaken by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers, has focused on the potential impact on finances, staffing and services at Worthing and Southlands hospitals.

The Clinical Comm-
issioning Group (CCG) has promised to publish a report of the assessment.

Margaret said: “Many MSK patients will be older people with multiple health conditions, including dem-
entia.

“If the CCG is really serious about improving the MSK services it says are so disconnected, then they have to show us the whole picture. We must not take risks with people’s wellbeing,”

The CCG met at The Causeway, in Goring, on Wednesday, shortly after the Herald and Gazette went to press.

Campaigners from Don’t Cut Us Out, Health Alert and the Coastal West Sussex 38 Degrees group held a demonstration outside the meeting demanding for a public consultation. Read next week’s paper for a full report.

A second demonstration will take place at the county’s health and social care scrutiny committee meeting in Chichester, on December 5.